I can’t wait to read Inspy Romance author Jackie Castle’s next release, out November 15 in the First Street Church Romances Kindle World. I love all Jackie’s romance stories, but her new series is something that appeals to me so much. It’s set on a newly planted Texan lavender farm!
That’s been one of my dreams for a long time – to live in a field of lavender. I adore the scent of lavender, plus I’ve been blessed with visiting lavender farms both in France and one within a few miles of my home in England. Huge fields of lavender in bloom are an amazing sight and smell. And even an incredible sound, when they hum with bees on a warm summer’s day!
Right now I only have one lavender bush in our tiny garden, but I can visit the lavender fields again with Jackie’s books! She interviewed me in July when my Kindle Worlds story Love’s Healing Touch released, and it was great fun. Today, I’m glad to have the opportunity to interview Jackie about her new Kindle World stories.
First tell us about your current project—
I’ve been working on the second book of my First Street Church three book series called The Lavender Vale Series. The first book is Love’s Mercy, the second is Love’s Harmony and the final one will be called Love’s Secret Blessing and all take place on a budding lavender farm on the outskirts of Sweet Grove.
Wow, sounds fascinating! How did you end up working on this particular project?
Well, when I heard about the First Street Church Kindle World opening up and that Melissa was looking for writers to come join, a friend told me about it and had said she’d joined and urged me to come along. But I needed some story ideas first. So I sent up a prayer, asking the Lord if I should hop on this opportunity and if it was a good idea, then to give me three titles and story ideas. A few days later I got up Sunday morning and was having my coffee and the three stories just came to me.
I immediately grabbed a pen and paper and started making notes. Once I had my three ideas, I contacted Melissa and told her I was interested in being involved. And here we are.
I love it when God works that way. He’s amazing! The Kindle World series is set in a small Texas town, how did you manage to get a feel for the story setting? Are you from Texas? If no, then where are you from and did you draw from your real town to write about Sweet Grove?
I actually do live in Texas, but I live in the city, Dallas. However, my grandparents lived in a small town and I’ve traveled through many small towns during my travels. I’ve probably seen, um maybe, about half of the great state of Texas, and actually got my inspiration for the Lavender Farm after visiting one north of Dallas during a spring festival. I was so enchanted with it, I did a bit of research and found there’s a couple of more such farms spread out around the state. It seemed to me that Sweet Grove needed Lavender to go with its sweet apple orchards.
It sure does. :) What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
As I said, I actually went to a real lavender farm, which inspired the setting for my three stories. I research as I go, usually. When I’m not sure about something, I go to my best friend forever, Google, and start looking for answers. If that doesn’t work, I go to my second best friend, which is friends on Facebook who are so varied, there’s always somebody who knows something.
I spend a lot of time on Google when writing, too. It’s an author’s best friend, from being able to walk through a town on Street View to fact checking those pesky research questions that crop up several times a chapter Do you live in a small rural town, or city? Which do you prefer?
I live in the suburbs near a big city. Have always lived in the suburbs near a city, so I’m not sure which I’d prefer. Sometimes I think living in a small, country town would be glorious. I guess I get that fill of small towns by writing about them. Like my Madison Creek B&B series which is set in a small Michigan town that’s trying to revive itself.
That series is a lot of fun, too. Very different to Texas! Does the place you live influence the setting in your stories?
I think it’s more the places I visit that end up influencing my stories. I visit somewhere that I absolutely love and wish I could stay longer, but can’t. You know, because I have to get back home. But in my story worlds…. I can go wherever I want and stay for as long as I desire.
LOL, yes, a fabulous and no-cost way to travel! Is there a take-away you hope the reader will walk away with after reading your books?
Yes, that God loves them, and that they’re not alone in this world. I want readers to experience hope and encouragement. My characters aren’t superheroes. They’re like you and me, just trying to make sense of their lives and find their way in this world. And usually they find it when they turn to the Lord. Same as us.
Love it! We need Him so much. Million dollar question, are you working on another book? Will you write more books for the Sweet Grove Kindle World?
Yes and Yes. I plan to finish all three books in the Lavender Vale series before I write more of my Madison Creek B&B romance series.
To find out more about Jackie’s Kindle Worlds stories, you can visit the Sweet Grove page on her website.
And for an introduction to her Madison Creek stories, here’s a link to a free novella on Amazon!
Two other Inspy Romance authors, Liwen Ho and Alexa Verde, also have First Street Church Romances launching in November! Unfortunately I won’t be able to release my planned Christmas book in the series this November as I hoped – maybe next year. :)
For more about the published and soon-to-be-released books, including the four Inspy Romance authors’ books, check the Sweet Grove Books page. All the stories you’ll see there will be sweet and clean, though the level of faith content may vary.
And you’ll also find all twenty-five currently available books, plus twenty more from November 15, and additional Christmas releases from November 27, here on Amazon. (Not sure how a few other books have snuck into that list!). Unfortunately Kindle Worlds books are only available for purchase via Amazon.com.
Do you love lavender, too? If you could start a flower farm, what would you grow?